Sunday, June 11, 2006

Livery of Seisin

I was browsing Cooter & Ulen’s Law and Economics, when I came across this gem. It is about how the sale or transfer of land was recorded in mediaeval England, when most people could neither read nor write.

It is said that the seller handed the buyer a clod of turf and a twig from the property in a ceremony before witnesses known as livery of seisin. Then, the adults thrashed a child who had witnessed the passing of turf and twig severely enough so that the child would remember that day as long as he or she lived, thus creating a living record of the transfer.

The book notes that this is probably apocryphal- I sure hope so!

1 comment:

John said...

LOL.. what'd happen if the father was a real estate agent in those days buying developing and selling. wonder if that led to people buying large tracts of land instead of bitsnpieces.. ROFLMAO..!